Phylloscopus rotiensis, New Bird Species in the Wallacea Region

Helloindonesia.id – Joint research between the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences found a new species of bird in the Wallacea region. The new type of bird is called the Rote Leaf-Warbler (Phylloscopus rotiensis), which belongs to the Phylloscopidae family. This new species is found on Rote Island, East Nusa Tenggara.

Rote Leaf-Warbler (Phylloscopus rotiensis) is found on Rote Island and has a characteristic long beak. (Photo: www.eurekalert.org)
Rote Leaf-Warbler (Phylloscopus rotiensis) is found on Rote Island and has a characteristic long beak. (Photo: www.eurekalert.org)

As reported by Kompas, this new species of bird has a special characteristic that distinguishes it from other close relatives, namely its beak is around 15 percent longer. The unique shape of the beak is probably an adaptation of the dry landscape of Rote. Because, most other Asian leaf-warblers live in moist forests.

Phylloscopus rotiensis small size. Its body length is 10.3 cm and weighs 7.5 grams, the beak length is 1.63 cm, wing length is 5.7 cm, wingspan is 15.5 cm, tail length is 3.8 cm, and foot height is 2.02 cm.

The existence of leaf-warbler on Rote Island was first recorded in December 2004 by Dr. Colin Trainor from Charles Darwin University, Australia. Then in July 2009, Philippe Verbelen and Veerle Dossche, two bird watchers from Belgium, made detailed observations and obtained a series of photographs of the bird.

It is not easy to conclude that a bird is said to be a new type. Because, every encounter with a species that is estimated to be new, the types that exist must be examined through specimens stored in the museum or field observations.

If it has been studied various characters, both invisible (morphology) and the results of molecular analysis and behavior turns out to be different, then it can be concluded that the bird is a new species.

Incidentally last year, on the same island, there was also a new type of discovery, namely Myzomela irianawidodae. The fact that the discovery of two new species in the last 12 months on the island of Rote is certainly a separate value in the conservation area of ‚Äč‚ÄčIndonesia.

Myzomela irianawidodae is a new species of bird found on Rote Island in 2017. This tiny bird uses the name of the First Lady, as a tribute to Ibu Iriara who is very concerned about bird life. (Photo: LIPI)
According to data revealed by the Burung Indonesia page in 2017, there are 1,769 species of birds in Indonesia. This number increased compared to the 2015 data which recorded 1,672 bird species in Indonesia. The addition of the bird species came from the latest studies.

Myzomela irianawidodae is a new species of bird found on Rote Island in 2017. This tiny bird uses the name of the First Lady, as a tribute to Ibu Iriara who is very concerned about bird life. (Photo: LIPI)
Myzomela irianawidodae is a new species of bird found on Rote Island in 2017. This tiny bird uses the name of the First Lady, as a tribute to Ibu Iriara who is very concerned about bird life. (Photo: LIPI)

It is estimated that there are 700 bird species in the Wallacea region which include Sulawesi, Maluku and Nusa Tenggara. This number has the potential to increase through the discovery of new types. Competitors in the diversity of bird species in the Wallacea region can only be found in the Papua region.

However, with the natural conditions of Rote Island becoming increasingly densely populated by the human population, the population of birds there could be threatened. That is why, the researchers proposed that the leaf-warbler as soon as possible formally be classified as vulnerable to extinction.

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